The end of the year is nearly upon us, it’s been an interesting one, but what better way to finish 2017 off than looking forward to watch 2018 may bring? Here is the complete list of 15 artists we think you should be checking out in the coming year. Dive in and get ahead of the trend.
We don’t add any old basic stuff to our Ones To Watch lists. Artists in our favour must be unique, exciting and overall bringing something really fresh to the table. Sälen are undeniably all of this and more. The London 3-piece have been wowing us since late 2015 with what they call “straight-talking, slightly to the left pop music”. An accurate description, electronic clicks and cuts spiralling around every track, lyrical examples ranging from So Rude’s “I’m sorry but did you say I’m pretty fake or pretty and fake? Loose lips suck dicks” to latest I Am Champagne’s “when you’re with me you don’t drink champagne or rack lines of cocaine”. With more brilliantly subversive music undoubtedly to come in the new year, 2018 deserves to be big for this lot.
Watch Sälen’s video for ‘Diseasey’ below or dive into their catalogue on Spotify.
South London rapper Benny Mails first came to the attention of the internet and ourselves with late 2016’s ‘I Blocked My Dealer’ – a strong, catchy track that made UK hip-hop aficionados ears prick up. Towards the end of this year however, Benny’s music has expanded emotionally – Mantra’s lyrics delved more personally into the Mails mind letting his audience know “this is the sound of a heartbroken rapper”. An early Christmas present has also just arrived as Benny drops his debut mixtape Aware, full to the brim with conscientious words and slick beats including a collab with the uber-talented and TMB fave Marika Hackman. Mails’ refusal to stick to one type of beat, one mood, one portrayal or expression of himself is what really makes him stand out, and will stand him in excellent stead for taking 2018 by storm.
To easily understand Benny’s talent, just watch his COLORS performance of ‘Mantra’ below:
Halifax’s bright young stars: Henry Carlyle Wade met sisters Esme and Sidonie Hand-Halford at a party back before hitting their teens and had formed The Orielles by the next day. Now at 18, nearly 19 and 21 respectively, the band have just signed to Heavenly Records continuing to do what they do best. Their debut album Silver Dollar Moment will be with us early next year, a defining and anticipating moment in the career of these youngsters whose psych-influenced surf-rock has matured and changed significantly just as they have over their years as a group. Hopefully spattered with the recently released killer track ‘Let Your Dogtooth Grow’, the eclectic 8-minute whirlwind that is ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ and live-favourite ‘I Only Bought It For The Bottle’. There’s undeniably plenty of surprises to come, let’s hope the future holds good things for these three.
Watch ‘I Only Bought It For The Bottle’ below or check out their other bangers on Spotify:
Yanya first broke out last year with her tender cover of Pixies’ ‘Hey’ and since then the soulful west Londoner hasn’t looked back. She’s already released two brilliant EPs including peppy tracks like ‘Keep On Talking’ and the jazzy ‘The Golden Cage’. It’s impossible to get a taste of Yanya from just one track, the versality between each one is just so refreshing – being both a talented guitarist and vocalist, her music manages to be both powerful yet subtly understated. The lo-fi elements of her guitar tones and unique knack for disjointed melody create something extremely special. Let’s hope 2018 sees more of the same from Yanya, or something totally different, either way we’re excited.
Watch the video for Baby Luv below or try it all out on Spotify:
You’d surely have to have your head firmly planted under a rock to have missed these miscreants around the internet or at a live show over the last year. Known to frequent the same Brixton hangouts as Fat White Family, Shame – luckily for us – have significantly better music and an actual political conscience. 2017 saw the 5-piece prove themselves by playing more crazy, tireless and brash live shows and releasing more music than ever before including the openly slandering ‘Visa Vulture’, a beautifully ironic ode to the PM “Theresa May won’t you let me stay…do you feel like a commoner, exposed and dominated?”. However, it’s the most recent releases from Shame that get us here at TMB thrilled for 2018, the post-punk energy of ‘Concrete’ and the singalong sounds of ‘One Rizla’ really display the development of Shame’s songwriting, we just can’t wait for more.
Watch ‘Concrete’ below or check out their other tracks on Spotify:
We first came across Mr Ridley from his debut track ‘Everything (Deathless)’ released via Speedy Wunderground (TOY, Childhood, Telegram, FEWS) back in January. It’s almost post-punk but with the volume turned down, glorious production on distorted guitars that rattle throughout made it a firm favourite off the bat. October then saw the release of Ridley’s eponymous debut EP including the mystifying ‘Somewhere Else’ and the darker 80s-influenced ‘Jaguar Spring’. He’s only at the start of his career, but with 5/5 tracks released being absolutely sublime, it would be foolish not to be keeping a close eye on him as we move into 2018.
Check out Everything (Deathless) below or his debut EP here:
Known by most as being part of South London hip-hop collective House of Pharaohs; the brilliant sounds of Sam Wise are ones not to be ignored. House of Pharaohs released an album of 15 unstoppable tunes earlier this year in April, of which Sam features heavily, but it wasn’t until October that Sam came out with the boppy, cheeky and all-round fun track ‘Lizzie’ racking up thousands of views and streams. This was then suitably followed by most recent single ‘Rack Up’, a subtle yet booming track with a killer beat. Despite having only a couple of official singles out on DSPs, there’s a special something about Sam Wise it’s hard to put your finger on, whatever “it” is, he’s got it.
Rex Orange County
An act very close to TMB’s heart, we first wrote about Rex Orange County at the end of 2016, totally falling in love with his debut single ‘UNO’. A continuous stream of incredible singles followed, with his excellent full-length Apricot Princess coming out in April. His collaborations with Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean and Skepta have blown him into the awareness of the mainstream that still retains its cool credibility. We still back up what we said this time last year that “Rex feels reminiscent of Tyler, the Creator when he was coming out of obscurity, both feeling ultimately unique in their field” and we hope his success will emulate the Creator to the same degree.
Check out the video for ‘Sunflower’ below or try out his underrated album ‘Apricot Princess’:
Alaskalaska won us all over here at TMB HQ with their debut single ‘Bitter Winter’ back in May. Its crisp tones, silky smooth yet disjunct melodies, unique structure and occasional sexy sax solo totally struck a chord with us. The further caressing sounds of gentle ‘Familiar Ways’ and Kanye-worthy autotune in ‘Patience’ continued to build the storyline that this 6-piece have something seriously special to offer the world. Let’s hope 2018 is the year they’ll prove us right. (Plus, their remix of another of one of our Ones To Watch Nilüfer Yanya’s ‘Baby Luv’ is also a winner.)
Watch the video for Bitter Winter below then check their debut EP on Spotify:
It won’t be a surprise to many that Sigrid has made it onto our list. The soon to be pop sensation has been just that in our eye since her debut with ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’. At just 21, the young singer-songwriter has broken out of her home country of Norway already having international success in the UK, Australia and more. Her debut EP also certainly didn’t disappoint with tracks such as ‘Plot Twist’, ‘Fake Friends’ where she effortlessly shows off her strong and stunning voice. Most recent single ‘Strangers’ only confirmed our suspicions that she is destined for greatness further, and we hope 2018 is the year she takes the world by storm.
Watch the video for Plot Twist below or check out all the Sigrid on Spotify:
This Madrid-based 4-piece have been honing and crafting their sound over the last couple of years, trying make a name for themselves for their own merit rather than as another Spanish band after the likes of Hinds and The Parrots. Unsurprisingly to us here at TMB however, the release of their two brilliant singles ‘Gliss’ and ‘Down 4 U’ this year, they’ve totally cracked it. Both tracks were mixed by Jarvis Taveniere (King Gizzard, Real Estate, Woods) giving the tracks that final finesse on its production that is both slippery smooth yet crunchy round the edges. Let’s pray for more outstanding “hipno-pop” in the coming year, I doubt they’ll disappoint.
Check out the shimmering ‘Gliss’ below:
Tom Tripp’s first leap into the industry came with debut single ‘Aurelia’, after uploading a demo of the NAO-influenced track to Soundcloud, NAO herself contact the North-London youngster to release it properly on her own label Little Tokyo. If that isn’t fate I don’t know what is. Since then Tripp has released his wonderful debut EP RED featuring newer singles ‘Pamela’ (with friends LISS) and ‘Stand’ and some of the cleanest pop production you’ll have heard in a good while. Furthermore, many will undoubtedly have come across Tripp from his feature on the eponymous album from Mura Masa this year with stellar tune ‘helpline’. Tripp also sold out his debut London show within a couple of weeks – honestly, all signs point towards a smashing 2018.
Check out ‘Pamela’ below or his full RED EP on Spotify:
Jacob Read is the mind behind Jerkcurb, and it’s no absent mind at that. Releasing his music via A&R kings at Handsome Dad Records (Beach Baby, Grace Lightman, Babeheaven) the future already looks bright. Despite only releasing a handful of tracks, each one has been exceptionally received from his debut ‘Night On Earth’ to this year’s ‘Voodoo Saloon’. Read’s reverb-ridden guitars and hazy vocals make him sound like Mac Demarco but with a heart of gold, consequently gaining him tons of fans in a very short space of time. On top of all that, he’s also currently smashing it as the frontman of upcoming band Horsey, who have just been on tour with King Krule, expect brilliant things in 2018 – I very much doubt we’ll be disappointed.
Watch the video for Voodoo Saloon below or check out the rest on Spotify:
A choice on many publications “ones to watch” this year, due to Superorganism’s undoubtedly smashing 2017. We first wrote about this group of multi-instrumentalists at the initial release of ‘something for your M.I.N.D’ back in February – which now links to a non-existent song due to the track’s re-release in September after signing Domino. Which in itself is unsurprising, Superorganism’s approach to music is ripping up the rule book, taking everything apart, and putting it miraculously back together. Selling out debut shows in London and Manchester plus wowing the crowds with stunning visuals and unique stage presence, there isn’t a single doubt in anyone’s mind that this group will make a big impression on 2018.
Check out the undeniable banger that is Something For Your M.I.N.D below:
This London four-piece may look like any other, but they’re making tunes that will definitely make your head turn. Our heads were initially spinning with the release of the band’s Made Simple EP back in April and its killer lead single ‘Dust’, a whirlwind of guitars and dreamy harmonies bring the brilliant melody to life. We’ve been treated to a string of stellar singles since then, including the jittery ‘Kiss’, the progressive ‘Getting Over You (By Dressing Up Like You)’ and latest ‘Put Down Your Pen’. Indie rock gets a lot of stick, mainly because there’s a lot of rubbish indie rock around, but this gets the TMB no-rubbish guarantee, get it on repeat and wait for what 2018 will bring.
Watch Getting Over You (By Dressing Up Like You) below or check out Dust on Spotify: